Health

This Bicyclist Rode For 9 Hours To Create A Reindeer Image With His Fitness Tracker

This is really cool! And quite a long bike ride.

British cyclist Anthony Hoyte’s Christmas-inspired bike rides have become notorious.

Hoyte doesn’t ride decked out as Santa or pull a sleigh behind his bike. Instead, every December, Hoyte uses his Strava fitness tracker‘s GPS to map out an impressively detailed shape on the roads that is inevitably holiday-themed.

In the past, Hoyte has pedaled his bike to create a snowman and Santa. On this year’s 9-hour ride with 3,500 feet of elevation gain, Hoyte followed a complicated 79-mile route to create a reindeer on the streets just northwest of London.

He tweeted a screengrab from his Strava account of his elaborately made reindeer, which has long antlers — no wonder he had to ride for nine hours!

How does Hoyte come up with his routes?

“I study Google and other online maps and look for shapes in the existing roads — a bit like spotting pictures in clouds,” he told Bicycling magazine. “If something jumps out at me — like perhaps a road that looks like a nose — then I’ll try and find eyes and so on. If nothing jumps out, I’ll try somewhere else, but I’ll keep coming back to places to see what I see.”

Hoyte travels to make his “Strava art.”

“I live just outside Cheltenham, which isn’t a huge place,” he told Bicycling. “I’ve done a couple of drawings here, but it’s much easier with a heavy concentration of roads. So, I’ve ended up visiting other cities in the U.K. — Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, London and Sheffield so far — some of which I’ve managed to combine with visits for work or to see friends and family.”

Here’s the 41-mile route he took in 2018, around Birmingham, England, which was shaped like Santa:

And in 2017, he rode his bike into a shape that really takes the Christmas fruitcake — an 88-mile track of a snowman. This one was a 10-hour ride!

But not all of his art is holiday-themed. He also pedaled a Yorkshire terrier around Leeds:

Hoyte isn’t the only athlete who has created designs with the GPS mapping capabilities of a fitness tracker. In 2016, The Guardian reported on a runner who made holiday-themed tracks, like a 1.2-mile ornament, a 2.7-mile Christmas tree and a 7.1-mile Santa face.

Talk about a good way to work off those Christmas cookies!